The EU in Central Asia: A New Strategic Vision
Join Harvard's Davis Center for a talk with Fabienne Bossuyt and Nargis Kassenova on the EU's strategy in Central Asia. The European Union adopted its first political strategy for Central Asia in 2007, driven by the desire to better position and assert itself as a Eurasian regional and global actor. The strategy document, like others of its kind, emphasized partnership and shared interests between the EU and the states of the region ("neighbors of neighbors"). Centered on good governance norms and standards transfer, it made no direct reference to the complex geopolitical environment of Eurasia. Despite considerable changes in political and economic circumstances over the last decade, this same strategy has remained in place, despite attempts to update it. But now, factors like China’s thrust into Eurasia with its Belt and Road Initiative are forcing European capitals to move beyond their comfort zone. Milestones along this journey have included the EU's latest Global Strategy, its 2016 Russia policy, and its 2018 Europe-Asia connectivity strategy. Central Asia features in all three documents. A new strategy for Central Asia will be adopted in early 2019—and indications are that it will be more strategic and proactive than the previous one.
Fabienne Bossuyt, assistant professor, Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University, Belgium
Nargis Kassenova, senior fellow, Program on Central Asia, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University; associate professor, department of international relations and regional studies, KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan